US-literary-agent-thrillers

How to get a US agent for your crime thriller

There’s a common misconception that if you’re a crime or thriller writer you need an agent who focuses solely on those genres. But agents typically have eclectic tastes and like to diversify their list.

If you go to a leading crime agent, you may just become one in a number of crime authors. But, if you find an agent who appeals to you and whose client list is a little light on crime titles, then your book could be just what they’re looking for.

US crime and thriller agents

There are plenty of ways to figure out which agents represent your genre but finalising your shortlist can be a painstakingly long, dull task. Unless you’re using AgentMatch, that is.  

We’ve done all the hard work for you: scoured the four corners of the web for every interview, interesting fact, and noteworthy quote, it’s all there. So, why not take out our 7-day free trial to get complete access to all the US literary agent profiles.

After selecting your country (we advise that US based authors query US based agents), genre or non-fiction subject, you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable agent profiles. Save your search results and work through them one by one, at your own pace. Here’s a few crime/thriller agents to get you started:

Jessica Alvarez

Amelia Appel

Noah Ballard

Rachel Beck 

Danielle Egan-Miller 

Donald Mass 

Evan Marshall 

Kiana Nguyen

Joy Tutela

Need more information? We break everything down in our guide to finding a literary agent – it’s invaluable for all querying authors! 

How to target submissions

It’s important that you find an agent that is interested in representing crime or thriller novels. A little targeting of potential agents is fine, as long as you don’t overdo it. There are two things that we always advise querying authors to consider, when they’re searching for agents: 

  1. Check who represents your favourite author. Even if your favourite author writes women’s fiction or literary fiction, you may find that you and the agent share a taste for a certain kind of writing and have something in common. 
  2. Research agents that represent good but lesser known authors in your genre. If you were to query Dan Brown’s agent, for instance, that would certainly be a waste of time as his desk would undoubtedly be covered in various conspiracy-thriller-manuscripts. Whereas, if you find a pool of talented thriller authors that haven’t yet hit the big time, those agents are more likely to be open to seeing submissions from querying authors. 

If you’re still convinced that the only way to publication is through a Very Well-Known Agent, then have a think about this: 

  • The Very Well-Known Agent will have a long list of Big-Name clients (sometimes over a hundred!). Do you want to be the least important on that list? 
  • A Very Well-Known Agent may not be looking for debut writers at all. Any additions to their client list will likely be established authors moving agencies. 
  • Selling a book to a publisher, isn’t rocket science. If the agent is competent and can sell a literary novel, for example, then they have all the skills to sell any other genre too. If an agent’s contacts are weak in one area, then after a few phone calls that’s easily rectified. The exception being fantasy or science fiction and children’s fiction; both markets are pretty specialist. 
  • Publishers want to find wonderful, saleable books. They won’t care who the agent is that submits it to them. All that matters is that a) the editor loves the manuscript, and b) enough other people in the company love it, too. Ultimately, all that really matters is your writing. 

You can read up on more tips for crime and thriller writing, here. If you’re writing a police procedural crime novel, then this article on researching those procedures is everything you need to read today! 

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